Don't feel sorry for Syracuse. The NCAA Tournament has become more and more about the power conferences in recent years. Given a chance, the selection committee probably would have picked all 15 ACC schools. But even they couldn't justify putting Jim Boeheim's team in the field this season.
Syracuse had just two wins outside the Carrier Dome this season. Two. That should not be rewarded. Yes, they had six wins over teams in the top 50 of the power ratings, but it's hard not to get wins over highly rated teams in a league like the ACC. They also have five losses against teams from outside the top 100. Their RPI is 84. No team with an RPI that low has ever made it as an at-large. The committee often looks past the power ratings when it serves the purposes of the top leagues, but they couldn't justify it this time.
Any chance the Orange had evaporated when Rhode Island beat VCU in the Atlantic 10 title game. It was the general assumption that a URI win would bump someone else out of the field, presumably Syracuse. Based on the bracket, I'm not sure the 'Cuse would have gotten in regardless.
The committee is famous for disrespecting mid-majors. This year, they gave short shrift to the Missouri Valley Conference, generally one of the top two mid-majors along with the A-10. Wichita State, which is 30-4 and won 15 in a row, got only a 10 seed and a first-round game with Dayton, another mid-major. Wichita State, which has now made the NCAAs six years in a row and reached the Final Four a few years ago, deserved better. Naturally, the committee will claim it was a coincidence that they put two top mid-majors against one another.
I thought Illinois State, which went 17-1 in the Valley, got screwed. They're 26-6 with a 32 RPI, but the committee didn't like the fact that they had no wins against teams from major conferences. Of course, it's hard to get those games, especially at home. The Missouri Valley didn't have a single home game this season against any teams from the top six power conferences.